A Guide To Divorce

With the start of the New Year upon us, some people may decide that now is the time to make a fresh start and to end their marriage. Divorce is something that takes a lot of thought and it can be a long process to get to the point where you feel able to start. This guide should help you understand what happens and when, so you can approach your divorce with some knowledge behind you.

There are two parties in a divorce. One is the petitioner and the other is the respondent. The petitioner is the one who files the divorce petition. In order to file a divorce petition you need to have been married for at least a year and you must provide the grounds for your divorce in the petition.

There are five grounds for divorce and these are:

1. Adultery;
2. Desertion;
3. Unreasonable behaviour;
4. Separation for two years; or
5. Separation for five years (no consent given for the divorce from either you or your spouse).

Once the petition has been filed and the fee has been paid, the respondent will be sent all of the information, including an Acknowledgement of Service (AOS).

At this point there are a number of options to consider. You can file the acknowledgement of service and when you file this you can agree with the divorce, disagree with the divorce or start your own divorce. This is known as a cross petition.

Where you fail to do anything with the acknowledgement of service, these documents will be served in another way.

If as a respondent you agree and file the acknowledgement of service, the petitioner can then apply for the Decree Nisi. This is a legal document issued by a court to say that there is no reason you cannot get divorced.

Once the Decree Nisi has been applied for, the court will grant it and six weeks after that date, a Decree Absolute can be obtained by the petitioner and once this has been issued, the divorce is complete.

Whilst this gives an outline of the legal process of divorce, there are still two people involved in this process, often with emotional baggage and upset and perhaps even children. Seeking advice from a solicitor does not mean that your divorce has to be a battle, it just means that you want to make sure you are protected.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 289

Care Home Fees – Can I Get Them Back?

There has been a lot of discussion about who pays for care once we have a need for more involved care, such as a nursing home. In some circumstances, your relative may have paid for their care in a nursing home but should be entitled to have those costs paid by the NHS instead.

Whilst there are means testing rules in place, many older people are left in a position where they have no choice but to sell their home and use this money to pay for their care. If a relative is paying for their care and has been refused funding from the NHS, it may be worth speaking to a solicitor to see if they can get this decision reversed.

The rules state that since October 2007, if you or your relative need care for a ‘primary health need’ in England, then the NHS must pay these costs and cannot means test you either.

A ‘primary health need’ can be defined as a condition caused by an accident, illness or disability as the main reason for care. Whilst this is the simplest definition, there is a score based system based on priority and also on your condition, which will factor in things like how mobile you are and how stable your breathing is.

Your loved one may have missed out on getting their care home fees paid for if they have been rejected for these benefits in the past, but if their condition has got worse, it is worth revisiting this.

Care for a ‘primary health need’ is not means tested so people who may be wealthy could assume that they would not be eligible for this and therefore never applied. In this case, you may get back any fees you already paid.

In addition, if your relative was discharged from hospital straight into a nursing home, they may never have had their ‘primary health needs’ assessed and you may have assumed that your relative was not eligible, particularly if they were over the means testing threshold or owned a property.

What is important is that you speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to discover if there is a chance to recover the care home fees your relative has already paid.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 289